To me, the Audi Coupe GT is probably the most unappreciated German car of the 1980s. That crown could really be shared by many Audis that suffered the stigma of poor reputation left over from the 1970s problems and the late 1980s scandals coupled with mid-80s Volkswagen-era build quality, which admittedly wasn’t the best. Although the Audi products were generally engineered to a higher standard than most of their VAG counterparts, the company connection in the public’s mind leaves a scarlet letter on the Audi nameplate. Even though compared to contemporaries the Audi Coupe GT fared well in testing, the general attitude towards the model is that it was an underpowered, overpriced and heavy Scirocco. But those that know the model share the joy of a hidden secret; a fine handling GT, a composed tourer on the highway that is equally at home being flung around twisty backroads, a trusted companion with startling longevity that never failed to bring smiles on a regular basis. If you like the Audi Coupe GT, you probably like doing things a bit differently. And to pay nearly $7,000 for a nice condition one, you’d have to really want it and nothing else – but the chance to stand apart may be worth the price of entry:
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I have another few rare sets of wheels to check out this week, starting with some polarizing but cool Brabus wheels. They’re pricey but quite a way to set your Mercedes-Benz apart. There’s also a set of BBS RX wheels which remind me of some of the great designs gone by since BBS switched hands. This week I found another set of Rial wheels, this time slightly different with a large offset. There’s also a rare set of Volkswagen Votex wheels. And if you’re feeling ridiculously rich and have an early 911 that you want to have a race look, there’s a set of ultra-rich magnesium Minilites that is priced around the cost of most cars I look at. Enjoy!
CLICK FOR DETAILS: Brabus Monoblock 2 17×8 5×112 Wheels on eBay
Every year for the past decade I’ve headed towards the colder climates to enjoy some time exploring the limits of winter driving in schools put on by the Audi Club. Held on frozen lakes or in specific dedicated facilities, these schools allow you to do what’s simply not safe or legal on the regular roads; to get the car out of shape and beyond the limit of grip and learn to get back under control. Predictably every year there’s a crop of the newest and greatest from Audi, Subaru and even BMW. But around the ice, the best performers are still the old ladies; Audi 4000, 80 and 90 quattros comprise a small minority but generally blow right by all the “faster” cars once the grip declines. But while examples of the early quattros are never particularly expensive compared to new cars, finding the right one to buy and turn into a “winter beater” is a bit harder since they’re few and far between. So when this complete and solid but slightly weathered 1990 80 quattro turned up, my thoughts immediately turned towards the ice:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 80 quattro on eBay
The Audi 4000 quattro was like a Sherpa to thousands of European car enthusiasts; a steadfast winter standby with slick styling and Rally-bred sure-footedness. On paper, looking back today the 4000 was probably a bit dull; nearly 2,900 lbs of brick-on-brick design with a measly 115 horsepower motivation. But numbers don’t tell the whole story of the B2 Audi, because in any configuration it’s a great handling car. The quattro, however, had some special features that would have been headline items for any sports sedan until very recently; four wheel independent suspension with a large front sway bar and four wheel disc brakes. Couple that with the first all-wheel drive system fitted to a small car, sprinkle some luxury items in and cut the price of the exotic Quattro in half, and it didn’t matter that it wasn’t particularly fast. What the 4000 quattro was, though, was one solid all-around performer. The subtle changes from the front-drive sedan resulted in a car that felt more grown-up and refined, yet still pushed you to do silly Hoonigan things. 4000 quattro owners that I’ve talked to almost always have the same proud story; the time that they managed to get their 4000 quattro stuck. Normally, that would be a cause for embarrassment, but such was the grip of the plow-through-anything small sedan that it became a badge of honor when you outdid the car’s twin-locking differentials. The secret, of course, was just to make sure all four wheels were in the air! But because of this type of sillyness inducing competence amongst dropping residual value and a second or third tier of ownership that didn’t always repair or maintain the cars, few are left in good condition. However, I managed to scratch together a trio of three-quarters of the U.S. bound production years, all in the fetching shade of Tornado Red. We’ll start with the end of the run: